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Nationalism Is Necessary but Insufficient
US President Donald Trump and US First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Nationalism Is Necessary but Insufficient

Walter Russell Mead

As President Trump reveled in air-force flyovers and a tank display this Fourth of July, the idea that dominates his administration’s domestic and foreign policies was on full display. That idea is nationalism, and Mr. Trump hopes it will reshape both American politics and the international order.

At home, Mr. Trump relies on the power of nationalism to isolate and marginalize his opponents. At a time when some on the left believe it is more important to denounce America’s failings than to hail its accomplishments, Mr. Trump seeks to wrap himself in a flag that most Americans revere.

We’ll know in November 2020 if this strategy has paid off at the polls. The results of a frankly nationalist foreign policy may take longer to assess. The Trump administration’s hostility to such multilateral institutions as the European Union, the World Trade Organization and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization—and its apparent cynicism toward international law and democracy itself—have astounded and embittered many longtime American allies. This is costly; the trans-Atlantic alliance that grounded American policy for 70 years is visibly and rapidly weakening.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal here

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